LAHORE: Pakistan must prioritise responsible business conduct at the heart of export growth to meet international expectations and standards to expand its external trade; this was the crux of speeches delivered at a seminar at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The seminar on ‘Responsible Business Conduct in Punjab’ was jointly organised by LCCI, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER), Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and Workers Employers Bilateral Council of Pakistan (WEBCOP).
Speaking on the occasion, the experts said Punjab is the country’s most populated and resource-rich state. Thus, its demographic profile has a strong influence on the national labour force and employment patterns.
They said with an estimate of 37 million workers, Punjab’s contribution to the national labour force is the greatest among Pakistan’s four provinces, representing approximately 61% of the total national contribution.
EU has granted a GSP Plus status to Pakistan, giving it tariff-free access to Europe. Other than that, Pakistan also benefits from free trade agreements with many nations across Asia and beyond, they said. The speakers remarked that these trade partners value high-quality products of Pakistan, including cotton, readymade garments, transport equipment and sports goods, but they also increasingly demand high standards in other areas.
The GSP Plus agreement, for example, requires Pakistan to meet 27 international conventions, including human and labour rights.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2018.